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  • Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant and anti- inflammatory which helps to fight numerous diseases

Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant and anti- inflammatory which helps to fight numerous diseases

THE ANCIENT SPICE THAT’S MAKING HEADLINES

If you enjoy eating spicy food then you may already be familiar with curcumin. Curcumin is an extract from turmeric (the yellow spice found in curry) which is known for its antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. This spice is a member of the ginger family and has been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine.

Curcumin a powerful anti-inflammatory, meaning that it is useful for tackling a range of health issues from arthritis, autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular disease, cancer and even neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. To date, there have been a staggering 1,800 studies backing up the effectiveness of curcumin.

Curcumin - the Ancient Spice

How it works

Curcumin performs its magic in the body in two different ways. Firstly it prevents the formation of damaging free radicals and, secondly, it works as a scavenger which neutralizes free radicals that have already formed.

The bottom line is that curcumin is able to outperform other antioxidants. It comes as no surprise to hear that many researchers rate curcumin as the most powerful supplement in the world.

But what about turmeric? Is it possible to get enough curcumin by sprinkling this spice on your food? The answer is no, due to the fact that turmeric only contains about 2 to 5% curcumin. Also, curcumin is soluble in water making it is very difficult to absorb. As a result, supplementation is necessary.

Curcumin may help to support:

  • Healthy lungs
  • Cells
  • Eyes and lenses
  • Skin
  • Heart, circulation and blood flow
  • Joints
  • Immune response
  • Nerve sheaths
  • Brain
  • And much more!

Therapeutic uses of Curcumin

  • To treat dyspepsia, one study used 500mg of turmeric powder four times daily (2g per day of turmeric) for seven days (Thamlikitkul, J Med Assoc Thai 1989).
  • For ulcerative colitis, 1g of curcumin was used twice a day (2g per day of curcumin) (Hanai, Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2006).
  • For ulcerative proctitis 550mg of curcumin was used twice daily for 1 month and then 550mg three times daily for another month (Holt, Digestive Diseases and Sciences 2005).
  • For chronic anterior uveitis, 375mg of curcumin three times a day (1.1g per day of curcumin) was used in a three-month study (Lal, Phytother Res 1999).
  • For rheumatoid arthritis, 1,200mg of curcumin was used per day (Deodhar, Indian J Med Res, 1980).
  • For treating psoriasis, a curcuminoid C3 complex containing 95% curcuminoids was given as three 500mg capsules three times daily (4.5g per day) (Kurd, J Am Acad Dermatol, 2008).

Research

A great deal of research is being carried out into the effectiveness of curcumin and, in particular, its effect on cancer. Professor Bharat Aggarwal is a professor of cancer medicine at the MD Anderson Cancer Centre at the University of Texas. He notes that incidents of the top 4 cancers in America, namely breast, colon, lung and prostate, are as much as 10 times lower in India where large amounts of turmeric are consumed daily. Professor Aggarwal made this startling statement: “We have not found a single cancer on which curcumin does not work.” Professor Aggarwal believes that the answer lies in curcumin’s ability to block NF-kB, a protein which is necessary for the proliferation and metastasis of tumours.

One must wonder why this research has not received much more publicity. In an interview with Reuters, Aggarwal explained that, since curcumin is a natural substance, the drug companies have zero interest in increasing public awareness of it because curcumin cannot be patented. However, this hasn’t stopped some from trying. In the late 1990s, the US Patent and Trademark Office granted a patent for turmeric to the University of Mississippi; however, the patent was withdrawn after an appeal from the Indian government.

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